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US Presidential Elections and Foreign PolicyCandidates, Campaigns, and Global Politics from FDR to Bill Clinton$
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Andrew Johnstone and Andrew Priest

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813169057

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813169057.001.0001

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“A Godsend to the Country”?

“A Godsend to the Country”?

Roosevelt, Willkie, and the Election of 1940

(p.19) 1 “A Godsend to the Country”?
US Presidential Elections and Foreign Policy

Andrew Johnstone

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter argues that foreign policy debates in the election of 1940 have been underestimated. Franklin Roosevelt remained cautious regarding foreign policy issues, in part because he had an election to win, and also because his opponent, Wendell Willkie, did not wholly reflect the Republican Party on foreign policy matters. In addition, congressional isolationism was extremely strong. This chapter also argues that Willkie was more critical of Roosevelt on foreign policy issues than has generally been accepted. This was largely a result of straightforward party politics, and the selection of Willkie as the Republican candidate did not mean that foreign policy issues were off the table. In fact, they remained critical for both candidates throughout the campaign.

Keywords:   1940 election, Franklin Roosevelt, Wendell Willkie, World War II, Isolationism

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